Turkey, Greece have deadline to reach common ground – report

Turkey and Greece have a deadline of the end of August to reach common ground on a range of issues stoking political tensions between their governments, Kathimerini newspaper reported.

The two governments have an open line of communication via Eleni Sourani, the head of the diplomatic office of Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and Ibrahim Kalın, the spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Kathimerini said on Monday citing unidentified sources.

Greece and Turkey have laid the groundwork for exploratory contacts on the terms and conditions of a possible resumption in dialogue, with Germany having played a pivotal role in the rapprochement, the newspaper said.

Athens says the only issues under discussion should be the continental shelf and maritime zones, while Turkey says the dialogue should also include a much wider range of issues, according to Kathimerini.

Political and military tensions between Turkey have surged over the past year after Turkey sought to explore for minerals off the coast of Cyprus and the two governments jostled and jibbed with each other over territorial rights in the Aegean Sea.

Sourani and Kalın were on the brink of signing a framework for dialogue before a latest crisis erupted between the two countries over Turkey’s planned seismic survey off the Greek island of Kastellorizo late last month, the newspaper said.

The main Greek leftist opposition party SYRIZA and the centre-left Movement for Change (KINAL) say they will back the resumption of talks with Turkey, stalled since 2016, so long as discussions are limited to the issue of maritime zones, Kathimerini said.